Prema Theodore Racing took the FIA European Formula 3 Championship lead with a trio of podium finishes, including a race victory, at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy.
Round 2 of the championship got off to an excellent start with a 1-2 finish for the team in practice before a messy qualifying session disrupted its rhythm. Last month’s Silverstone race-winner, Callum Ilott, qualified on the second row for all three races, lining up 4-4-3 whilst Chinese racer and Ferrari Driver Academy member Guanyu Zhou qualified in 7th and 8th for Races 1 & 2, improving to 4th for Race 3. Maximilian Gunther, last year’s vice-champion, was unfortunate to have a number of his qualifying times deleted after violating track limits leaving him in 14th, 7th and 6th. Gunther’s German compatriot Mick Schumacher, the team’s rookie this year, performed strongly to line-up 9th, 3rdand 12th.
The reigning team champions performed consistently throughout the weekend’s three races with all four cars finishing inside the top-10.
Race 2 saw rookie Schumacher claim his maiden Formula 3 podium with third place before his experienced teammates Ilott and Gunther brought the team a double-podium in Race 3, finishing 1st and 3rdrespectively.
The team will aim to extend its championship lead at the next round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in Pau, France on 20-21 May 2017.
# 3 – Maximilian Gunther
“It has been a good end of the weekend. We had some issues in qualifying and bad starting positions but we recovered really well in all the three races. Being again on the podium in front of the team, finishing first and third, is a very good result. We scored solid points. I can’t wait to go to Pau and push through the streets there.”
# 8 – Guanyu Zhou
“In race 2 the pace was not bad, I made some good decisions and managed to score P6 which is good after starting P8. In Race 3 I did a good start and for the opening laps everything was right. I kept the second position running all by myself but then we fell off the pace and got overtaken easily on the straights. We will have to check the data to see what happened.”
# 25 – Mick Schumacher
“I can only be happy with the weekend in Monza, scoring points in every race and being on the podium for the first time in a F3 car. It feels good, especially as I reached this 3rd place in Monza.”
# 53 – Callum Ilott
“In qualifying and free practice we were quite happy but in the races with all the others we struggled and that made my life difficult. In Race 3 I knew that in free air I was relatively quick so I made the most out of it with a really good start. Having changed something on the brakes I locked up sometimes during the first laps and I was a little bit worried about having flat spotted the tires. After that I calmed down and maintained the gap. I knew I was quicker than Lando in the second sector and the gap I made there was enough to keep him behind until the following lap. I’m happy to win with the team. It’s a really good result for us.”
Teddy Yip Jnr, CEO
“I am delighted to see us take the championship lead at this early stage in the season. As aways a fantastic job by the guys. Now I can’t wait for our race around the streets of Pau!”